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Moving semi-final out of Croke Park would give Cavan better chance against Dublin, admits Galligan

But Breffni star Thomas Galligan has no issues with taking on the All-Ireland champions in HQ.

Killian Brady and Thomas Galligan of Cavan celebrate beating Donegal in the Ulster final.
Killian Brady and Thomas Galligan of Cavan celebrate beating Donegal in the Ulster final.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

CAVAN STAR THOMAS Galligan has admitted that playing the All-Ireland semi-final against Dublin outside of Croke Park would give the Ulster champions a better chance of causing an upset.

But Galligan isn’t getting hung up on the venue and says Mickey Graham’s side will “play it wherever”.

Because of Dublin’s familiarity at playing on Jones’ Road and the fact it will be played behind closed doors, there have been growing calls to hold the game on Saturday week in a different venue. 

Graham has already stated that taking on the Leinster kingpins at headquarters would be a disadvantage and voiced his preference for it to be staged at a “neutral” arena. 

While Galligan accepts such a scenario would work in Cavan’s favour, he adds that the players would be excited about the prospect of lining out at GAA headquarters.   

“I don’t really know, I just expect it to be in Croke Park because it’s an All-Ireland semi but it would probably help us if it’s out of Croker,” he said.

“It’s not up to us to make a call on that, the GAA will make a call on that and we’ll play it wherever. At this stage we’re meant to be long beat so we’ll go out and give them a go. 

“They’re well used to playing there but I think everyone wants to play in Croker. I don’t anybody will be disappointed if we have to play them in Croker because growing up that’s exactly where you want to play. You’re playing team in the country in Croker, if you can make it there you’ll make it anywhere.”

Man-of-the-match in the Ulster final despite starting Cavan’s first two championship games on the bench, Galligan recognises the scale of challenge facing his side against Dessie Farrell’s side.

“I suppose it is a little bit daunting but it’s also exciting to be playing the best team in the country,” said Galligan. “You’ll really know where you’re at after you play them. It might be a bit daunting or whatever but I think more people will be excited to get playing.

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“If you had to ask people at the start of the year that Cavan were going to be in an All-Ireland semi-final, you would have got good odds. So I think we’ll enjoy it moreso than be afraid of it.”

Sporting a black eye following the shock win over Donegal, Galligan required two stitches on a gash above his right eye on Sunday evening but will return to training tonight with the group. 

The Lacken club man says the Breffni were motivated by being written off in the lead up to the provincial decider.

“Nobody expected us to win and everyone was telling us all week how we’re just a warm-up game for Donegal to play Dublin,” he remarked.

“You were listening to it all week about you haven’t a chance. You hadn’t a chance against Down and hadn’t a chance against Monaghan. People will say it doesn’t matter but that really gets on a lad’s shoulder.

“Everyone would have used their own way to motivate themselves but for me that was a big enough thing because I’m just sick of people putting Cavan down to be honest. So I’d say a lot of people would have used it to motivate themselves.”

Screenshot 2020-11-24 at 9.04.07 AM

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Kevin O'Brien

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